I awoke early one morning with the phrase in my head - "Hillbilly, Joker & 'ol Tennessee" - and I immediately knew who the phrase referred to, although, to my knowledge and recollection I had never heard the words in that context before as applied to the individuals in mind.  I don't remember if I had been dreaming, or if it was one of those surreal experiences you have sometimes when you write songs.
  But I've learned over the years not to pass up such an opportunity, so I got out of bed, went down to the studio and wrote the lyric in about 20 minutes.
  It doesn't really matter who these guys are . . . they are friends of mine and you don't have to know them personally to enjoy the song.  For now, it pleases me to let it remain a mystery to the general listener;  I think it adds to the spice of the song to leave the question to ponder and wonder about.  Growing up listening to song lyrics I often speculated about the characters in songs and the details of the story that we didn't get to hear - you had to use your imagination to 'fill in the blanks'.  It helped make the songs more memorable to me . . . .



Hillbilly, Joker & 'ol Tennessee
 ( R. P. Maddox © - 2014 )                   
Out of the coal camp far back in the hills . . .
Tall tales and legend, sad stories take hold
Deep underground where the sun never shines -
Venture too far - it's a long journey home
Heartaches and mysteries of love paint a scene
Feuds in the hollows, death waits in a mine . . .
Damnation, salvation, dark fables to tell
You never know what you may find
Hillbilly, Joker and 'ol Tennessee
Went down to the creek - they were lookin' for songs
'Ol Tennessee led, the Hillbilly played,
The Joker - He just sang along
They're burning up blacktop on route 52
Brand new discoveries of things known of old . . .
Such bittersweet memories, now longings for faith
Ghosts in the old hometown buildings long cold
Out of the coal camp far back in the hills . . .
Tall tales and legend, sad stories still told
There are places back there where the sun never shines -
If you wander too far it's a long journey home